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Grant Proposal Writing© Dr. Ayman Abdel-Hamid, CS5014, Fall 2006 1 CS5014 Research Methods in CS Dr. Ayman Abdel-Hamid Computer Science Department Virginia Tech Grant Proposal Writing
© Dr. Ayman Abdel-Hamid, CS5014, Fall 2006 2 Outline Grant Proposal Writing Why Write a Grant Proposal? How Proposals are Reviewed? Writing the Proposal Strategies for Success Some of the material is based on Dr. Cliff Shaffer’s Notes for CS5014. Department of Computer Science, Virginia Tech
Grant Proposal Writing© Dr. Ayman Abdel-Hamid, CS5014, Fall 2006 3 Why Write a Grant Proposal? 1/2 To the Government “Classic" technical research proposal Equipment or programmatic support Consulting or procurement contract for industry Charitable/community organization support To Industry “Classic" technical research proposal Equipment donation Charitable/community organization sponsorship
Grant Proposal Writing© Dr. Ayman Abdel-Hamid, CS5014, Fall 2006 4 Why Write a Grant Proposal? 2/2 Foundation Highly targeted research Programmatic support Charitable/community organization support Internal Proposal Technical research
Grant Proposal Writing© Dr. Ayman Abdel-Hamid, CS5014, Fall 2006 5 How Proposals are Reviewed? 1/3 Why does reviewing depends on the funding entity? Foundation: Board of directors Industry: Employees Some federal agencies: Agency employees or professional “handlers" “Classic" proposal solicitation with lots of external “peer" reviewers
Grant Proposal Writing© Dr. Ayman Abdel-Hamid, CS5014, Fall 2006 6 How Proposals are Reviewed? 2/3 Many of the same issues in place as with paper reviews Too big a pile, too short a time Obey format requirements!!!!! Make life easy for reviewers, don't become a target They might not be technical experts
Grant Proposal Writing© Dr. Ayman Abdel-Hamid, CS5014, Fall 2006 7 How Proposals are Reviewed? 3/3 Typical process Reviewers categorize into bins (excellent, average, and poor) Reviewer “panel" might synthesize individual reviews Administrator makes final decision based in large measure on bin “scores" of reviewer aggregate Warning: Evaluation (of proposals, papers, applications, exams) is never an exact science There's a lot of luck and randomness in the process. For any binary decision from a pile of objects, there's always three categories Definite Yes, grey area, definite No
Grant Proposal Writing© Dr. Ayman Abdel-Hamid, CS5014, Fall 2006 8 Writing the Proposal Balancing act between your goals and the funder's goals Two fundamental approaches Write to the solicitation Find a solicitation that matches your funding goal Q: Why should anyone give you money? A: Because you fulfill their goals better than the competition You must focus heavily on the funder's goals
Grant Proposal Writing© Dr. Ayman Abdel-Hamid, CS5014, Fall 2006 9 Strategies For Success 1/8 [Taken from VT Research Division pages] Know the funder! Try to find out about general trends and any new areas of interest Preview successful applications from grant seekers with projects similar to your own. Be clear about your goals Draw up a plan that outlines your project goals for at least the next five years Research your potential funders thoroughly and apply what you learn "Fitting" your proposal into their program by ignoring their guidelines just won't work.
Grant Proposal Writing© Dr. Ayman Abdel-Hamid, CS5014, Fall 2006 10 Strategies For Success 2/8 Your original contact letter to a foundation or corporation can be very important Make it as strong and to-the-point as possible. If possible have program officials review a 3-5 page summary of your proposal You'll learn if you're on the right track, and may save some time in the long run. After identifying available funding organize your efforts into writing the proposal, marketing, and management.
Grant Proposal Writing© Dr. Ayman Abdel-Hamid, CS5014, Fall 2006 11 Strategies For Success 3/8 Read and follow the instructions With any funder, but especially with federal agencies, not following the rules exactly can ruin your chances, even if your proposal is a brilliant one. Prove the existence of the problem you propose to solve data, statistics, case studies. Keep it simple! A successful proposal is clear, factual, supportable, and professional.
Grant Proposal Writing© Dr. Ayman Abdel-Hamid, CS5014, Fall 2006 12 Strategies For Success 4/8 When writing your proposal remember get straight to the point- don't waste time or words don't rush writing the proposal- take your time and get it right don't request more money than you really need be candid about asking for money never submit the same application twice never lie Marketing is important Look professional involve key community figures when you can
Grant Proposal Writing© Dr. Ayman Abdel-Hamid, CS5014, Fall 2006 13 Strategies For Success 5/8 Having clear performance standards should not be underestimated Outline measurement indicators and determine result areas. Cooperation is a good idea Many funders like applications involving more than one organization Be sure that the grantees have both a formal and informal relationship before submitting your cooperative proposal. Know your budget! presented separately from the application all the figures should be correct. (Keep a record of how your costs were determined)
Grant Proposal Writing© Dr. Ayman Abdel-Hamid, CS5014, Fall 2006 14 Strategies For Success 6/8 Stay on schedule Give yourself enough time to prepare the application properly and still meet the deadlines If you don't have time to do it right, don't apply at all Keep all of your standard information (resumes, community statistics) in a file that can be constantly updated This will save you time and allow you to concentrate on the specifics of preparing your proposal.
Grant Proposal Writing© Dr. Ayman Abdel-Hamid, CS5014, Fall 2006 15 Strategies For Success 7/8 Some writing hints Follow the funder's preferred format, if there is one Avoid jargon Open every section with a strong, clear sentence Make your proposal interesting to read
Grant Proposal Writing© Dr. Ayman Abdel-Hamid, CS5014, Fall 2006 16 Strategies For Success 8/8 Proposal not funded If you don't succeed with your proposal, try to learn from the experience Never argue with the officials or grant reviewers ask where you may have gone wrong Should you try resubmitting? Review your proposal carefully and try to identify areas that could be improved
Grant Proposal Writing© Dr. Ayman Abdel-Hamid, CS5014, Fall 2006 17 Research Funding Trends Interdisciplinary is “in" Probably healthy The best problems are real ones The best work is usually at the interface of different fields Big is “in" Not necessarily healthy Easier to administer than individual grants Targeted research is “in" Only as healthy as the judgment of those doing the targeting
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